Future of energy: Tackling climate change
Global climate change presents us with unprecedented challenges. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations have caused the majority of the planet’s rapid warming over the past century. Scientists agree that there are significant risks to humans and all life on Earth if this warming continues; however, there is currently no singular remedy to replace the widespread use of fossil fuels. No one energy technology alone can provide a cheap and reliable alternative capable of supporting the world’s growing energy needs.
MIT Professors Sergey Paltsev and Dennis Whyte will share their perspectives on the world’s technology options, the economic and climate impacts of energy decisions, and the future of fusion, fusion technologies, economic viability, and a path to commercialization.
Additionally, MIT Researchers Howard Herzog and Peter Godard will address the potential of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). They’ll explore how CCS can help the world reach net-zero emissions, as well as how we can turn energy-dense scrap aluminum into a water-reactive fuel for clean hydrogen generation.
Raimundo Pérez-Hernández y Torra has been director of the Ramón Areces Foundation since 2008. A Law graduate from the Complutense University in Madrid, he joined the Diplomatic Corps in 1976.
Until he joined the Ramón Areces Foundation, his professional career was in Public Administration, where he held the positions of adviser at the Spanish Permanent Delegation to the United Nations; economic and trade adviser at the Spanish Embassy in France; Head of Protocol in the Spanish Prime Minister's Office, with the rank of director-general; executive chairman of the Organising Committee for the Spanish Presidency of the European Union Council, with the rank of under-secretary; Ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations based in Geneva; chairman of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. He has served as Spanish Ambassador to the Republic of Austria and Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAEC), with the rank of ambassador.
Eduardo Garrido is a Program Director at the Office of Corporate Relations at MIT.
Eduardo Garrido has a strong multicultural and multidisciplinary background, with deep expertise in higher education, banking and management consulting, acquired in Argentina, Spain and USA. He currently serves as Program Director at the Industrial Liaison Program, Office of Corporate Relations (MIT), the largest conduit between corporations and MIT.
Before joining MIT, Eduardo was the Director of Santander Universities at Santander Bank, N.A., based in Boston, MA. In this role, he managed the institutional and business relationship with 46 universities, mainly in the northeastern US. He also served as Santander US representative at President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative and the Woman for Africa Foundation, among other relevant global higher education projects, and as Member of the Global President’s Council at NYU and the Advisory Boards of the Deming Cup, ECLA (Columbia University) and Newcastle University Business School.
Before coming to the US, Eduardo had several roles at Banco Santander Rio (Argentina). As Director of Santander Universities, he started the first entrepreneurship initiative at Grupo Santander worldwide, including the launching of a business plan competition, the Technology Innovation Venture Capital Fund, and a national competitiveness development initiative. He also sponsored the first edition of MIT 50K in Argentina. As Director of Organization and Quality at Banco Santander Rio, he led the team that obtained the first Global ISO 9001:2000 certificate for a financial institution in Latin America, certifying all main processes and areas of the bank. He also steered the business process reengineering project for the whole Bank, partnering with Ernst & Young and McKinsey and Co and implemented the Retail Banking new operating model.
Before joining Banco Santander Rio, Eduardo was Senior Manager of the Financial Services and Capital Markets Group at Price Waterhouse Management Consultants in Madrid, Spain. He was the Practice Leader of Business Process Reengineering, Financial Risk Management and Risk Adjusted Profitability Measurement.
Before his assignment at Price Waterhouse he served as Director of Consulting Services at MSA International, Inc. and as Financial Control Manager at Citibank España, S.A.
Eduardo graduated as Industrial Engineer at Universidad de Buenos Aires and has a MBA degree from IE Business School.
Dr. Sergey Paltsev is a Deputy Director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative and MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR), and a Director of the MIT Energy-at-Scale Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA. He is the lead modeler in charge of the MIT Economic Projection and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model of the world economy. Dr. Paltsev is an author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and books in the area of energy economics, climate policy, transport, advanced energy technologies, and international trade. Sergey was a Lead Author of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is a recipient of the 2012 Pyke Johnson Award (by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, USA, for the best paper in the area of planning and environment). Sergey is an Advisory Board Member for the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) Consortium and a Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium. Additional information at:
Currently, there is no magic bullet for fossil fuels—no one energy technology that can provide a cheap and reliable alternative capable of supporting the world’s growing energy needs. Instead, decision-makers looking to lower greenhouse gas emissions must choose from an expansive menu of technology and policy options.
MIT economist Sergey Paltsev studies this array of technology and policy options, with the goal of easing any economic growing pains that might result from the world’s energy transition. Though his research spans a wide range of topics and regions, it is tied together by a common thread: understanding the economic and climate impacts of energy decisions.
Dennis Whyte is a recognized leader in the field of fusion research using the magnetic confinement of plasmas for energy production on a faster, smaller, and more innovative path. Dennis is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has over 300 publications, and is heavily involved as an educator. He is widely recognized for his themes of innovation and the need for speed and economic viability in fusion. He has served on panels for the National Academies, the U.S. government, and the Royal Society. As director of Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) he presents the Center’s vision to peer institutions and recruits faculty and scientists to the team. The core of the SPARC project was formed over eight years ago during a design course led by Dennis to challenge assumptions in fusion. Many of the ideas underpinning the high-field approach — including the use of HTS for high-field, demountable magnets, liquid blankets, and ARC — have been conceived of or significantly advanced in these courses. Dennis’ leadership as director of PSFC has been a key enabler for the SPARC project, providing the stature necessary to bring the institutional and outside support to the project.
Vast improvements in magnetic confinement of Plasma uses in MITs NET SPARC project expects to achieve net energy gain from fusion by 2025 and potentials commercial applications for the technology “could follow in the 2030s”. Professor Dennis White will give an overview of the technology, economic viability and outline its path to commercialization.
Howard J. Herzog is a senior research engineer in the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and Executive Director of MITEI’s Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage low-carbon energy center. He received his undergraduate and graduate education in chemical engineering at MIT. He has industrial experience with Eastman Kodak, Stone & Webster, Aspen Technology, and Spectra Physics. Since 1989, he has been on the MIT research staff, where he works on sponsored research involving energy and the environment, with an emphasis on greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. He was a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (released September, 2005) and a US delegate to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum's Technical Group (June 2003-September 2007). He was awarded the 2010 Greenman Award by the IEAGHG “in recognition of contributions made to the development of greenhouse gas control technologies”. In 2018, he authored a book entitled Carbon Capture for the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series.
Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to be a significant player in helping the world reach its goal of net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases. While there has been a great deal of research and development of CCS technologies over the past three decades, CCS deployment has been somewhat limited. In this talk, I will discuss the present status of CCS and what is holding back its large scale deployment. Looking to the future, I will examine the different roles CCS can play, including decarbonizing power and industrial plants, producing low-carbon hydrogen, and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. I will conclude by suggesting what is needed to accelerate the deployment of CCS.
Peter Godart is a postdoctoral researcher and educator at MIT in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is working to develop carbon-free and equitable energy solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. He holds BSc degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and an MSc and PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. After earning his bachelor’s degrees in 2015, Peter spent two years as a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he worked daily operations for the Curiosity Mars Rover, qualified hardware for the Mars 2020 Rover (Perseverance), and led a research team in the development of a new aluminum-based fuel for a lander that may one day go to Europa, one of Jupiter’s icy moons. For his doctoral work, Peter developed new ways of extracting energy from aluminum waste to power electricity generation and seawater desalination in the aftermath of natural disasters. His current research interests include probing the fundamental nature of metal-water reactions at the molecular level, waste-to-energy for clean hydrogen production, and the development of devices capable of using hydrogen gas to power the generation of critical resources off the grid.
Communities around the world face continual disruption to critical electricity and potable water infrastructure due to severe storms, wildfires, and other natural disasters that are becoming more frequent and potent due to climate change. At the same time, many such communities see their local ecosystems being polluted due to poor waste management, especially as debris from severe weather events causes waste streams to surge in volume. Instead of compounding the issue, what if debris and other refuse could be converted into clean fuels locally to power the generation of critical resources when they would otherwise be inaccessible? Aluminum, for example, is the most abundant metal on earth and is widely used in nearly every industry. Currently global recycling rates are limited by complications with sorting waste by alloy content, lack of economic incentive, and the recent restriction of waste exports to other countries. As a result, several million tons of aluminum are landfilled each year in the US alone, leaving a significant amount of potential energy sitting idle and unused. A new alternative strategy to managing this waste is to turn it into an energy-dense fuel that reacts exothermically with water to produce hydrogen and boehmite, a valuable byproduct used in various industrial and pharmaceutical processes. When exposed to air, bulk aluminum develops an oxide layer that prevents it from reacting with water at practical temperatures; however, recent research at MIT has shown that a minimal surface treatment of gallium and indium can disrupt the oxide layer at the grain boundaries, allowing this reaction to proceed to >95% completion. In this talk, I discuss my research on the science and engineering of turning energy-dense scrap aluminum into a water-reactive fuel for clean hydrogen generation, as well as provide a thermodynamic perspective on plastic and biomass waste streams and how they might be leveraged in a similar way to make climate adaptation and mitigation more effective and equitable.
MIT Corporate Relations / Industrial Liaison Program
Klaus Schleicher joined the Office of Corporate Relations in 2013. He has a Global Operations and Technology background that has delivered rapid profitable growth in the imaging systems, speech recognition, IT security and consulting, digital printing & media industries. He has executive experience in Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Strategy and Business Development and has held senior positions at Universal Wilde, Presstek Inc., Consul Risk Management B.V. (IBM), Lernout & Hauspie (Nuance), Agfa (Bayer Corp.) and Honeywell Inc. He holds a Master Degree in Computer Science and Engineering, from the Technical University of Giessen in Germany.
Dr. Sergey Paltsev
Prof. Dennis G Whyte
Dr. Howard J. Herzog
Dr. Peter Godart
Karl Koster is the Executive Director of MIT Corporate Relations. MIT Corporate Relations includes the MIT Industrial Liaison Program and MIT Startup Exchange.
In that capacity, Koster and his staff work with the leadership of MIT and senior corporate executives to design and implement strategies for fostering corporate partnerships with the Institute. Koster and his team have also worked to identify and design a number of major international programs for MIT, which have been characterized by the establishment of strong, programmatic linkages among universities, industry, and governments. Most recently these efforts have been extended to engage the surrounding innovation ecosystem, including its vibrant startup and small company community, into MIT's global corporate and university networks.
Koster is also the Director of Alliance Management in the Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer (OSATT). OSATT was launched in Fall 2019 as part of a plan to reinvent MIT’s research administration infrastructure. OSATT develops agreements that facilitate MIT projects, programs and consortia with industrial, nonprofit, and international sponsors, partners and collaborators.
He is past chairman of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP), an organization that seeks to enhance the value of collaborative partnerships between universities and corporations.
He graduated from Brown University with a BA in geology and economics, and received an MS from MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to returning to MIT, Koster worked as a management consultant in Europe, Latin America, and the United States on projects for private and public sector organizations.